“Young people deserve free government handouts as much as old people” – Ali Mau


Putting the choice back in the hands of the young. It’s such a sunny, optimistic point of view. I so want it to be true.

And if you think abused kids, broke kids, can’t be masters of their destinies, you’re so wrong.

For proof I call Gustavia Lui, the founder and chief executive of Staavias, a Kiwi company designing and selling glamorous shoes in large sizes online. Gustavia came from a violent home, was passed around relatives for years, attempted suicide at 11. Dropped out of school, met her husband working at McDonalds, was pregnant at 16. Everyone said they figured that was where she was heading.

A little ironically, it was finding her first full-time job at WINZ at 17 that changed things for Gustavia. She worked there for the better part of a decade, and, turning her back on the doubters, built her business and studied at night and only left WINZ to launch the Staavias website in 2016. She has been married for over 10 years and has three lovely boys. Hers is a truly inspirational success story.

Would a UBI from the age of 17 to 24 have changed things for her, made it easier?

“There were things I couldn’t do when I was building the business because I had to work full-time,” she says, “so it did slow the process down. But I feel like if I’d been given that amount ($200 a week) and not had to do anything for it I wouldn’t have worked as hard as I did.

“I have the mentality that you just can’t get anything unless you work hard for it.”

That decade at WINZ means Gustavia has seen the “witch hunt” system up close, and she remains convinced the obligations, the “strings attached” are there for a reason. 

“A lot of youth I see around me, I think giving them $200 a week for nothing is a nightmare really.  Unless they can show you what it is they plan to do, you’re almost giving them permission to lounge around at mum and dad’s and catch up with the boys or the girls during the day.”

Not surprising that those who progressed in life through their own hard work don’t see free handouts as anything useful.   People who fix themselves will fix themselves anyway.  It is in their nature.

For the remainder, the $200 free pocket money TOP has promised them will indeed go to waste.

We should help young people build the skills to take control of their own lives.  Not condemn them to more welfare dependency.


– Alison Mau, Stuff

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